Irish Nationwide losses rise tenfold

City A.M. Reporter
IRISH Nationwide Building Society (INBS) yesterday said its loss widened tenfold in 2009 due to a jump in bad loan provisions and it was unlikely to agree soon with EBS Building Society on a merger.

INBS and nationalised Anglo Irish Bank have become the two lenders with proportionally the biggest exposures to Ireland’s property market crash, requiring the injection of billions of euros in state capital in order to survive.

“The outlook for 2010 remains highly uncertain in the context of an industry still seeking to define its future structure,” INBS chief executive Gerard McGinn said in a statement yesterday.

INBS posted a €2.49bn loss for 2009 after providing slightly more than that for impaired loans. That compared with a loss of €243m in 2008. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said last month INBS would transfer some €9bn of its loan book to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), referred to as Ireland’s “bad bank”, which was launched in March.

Lenihan said that would leave INBS with loans worth about €2bn and no future as a stand-alone entity so it should be sold or integrated into another institution quickly.

INBS has started talks with fellow NAMA participant EBS but said it was unlikely those talks would be concluded in the near term.